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State v. Wahkiakum County

ELR Citation: 44 ELR 20244
Nos. 44700-2-II, (Wash. Ct. App., 11/04/2014)

A Washington State appellate court held that a county ordinance banning the land application of the most common class of biosolids is unconstitutional. The state' s biosolids program was created in 1992 to facilitate and encourage recycling, rather than disposal, of sewage waste, and the state's environmental agency was charged with managing and implementing the program. In 2011, a county passed an ordinance banning the use of most biosolids within its borders. But because state law provides for a comprehensive permitting scheme for the land application of biosolids, the ordinance impermissibly prohibits what state law explicitly permits. In addition, the ordinance thwarts the legislative purpose of the statutory scheme and exercises power that the statutory scheme did not confer on local governments. As such, the ordinance unconstitutional under all three theories of conflict preemption.